April 19, 2012 by Rebekah Newman
I was afraid this would happen. My husband has been spending more time with his elderly father lately to help get things ready for their move in with us. In the process, he has picked up a bad habit.
I thought it would be something along the lines of him deciding he wants to eat dinner at 4:30 or maybe he would begin a subscription for an actual newspaper. The one they print on giant thin sheets of paper, roll up and throw at your house in the wee hours of the morning. (This is still a real thing. You can call your local newspaper and ask for an old timey newspaper subscription. They will pass you around to a bunch of operators so that each one can ask if you are sure, and then eventually they will assign someone to sneak up to your house and throw stuff at it before you awake every morning.)
About two weeks ago we were going out for dinner. The parking lot was full and while looking for a parking spot, my husband suddenly stopped the car in front of the restaurant and said, “OK, get out.”
The kids and I looked at each other. What? Get out? Where? Here?
“There’s a car behind us now, hurry please, get out.”
So, we did what most people would probably do when a loved one stops the car and hurriedly tells them to hit the road. We grabbed our stuff and got out. Then we stood there on the sidewalk, looking at each other and wondering what to do next.
A few minutes later he ran up and said, “Why are you out here? Why didn’t you go in?”
“You don’t have to wait for me. Go in!”
That was the first time it happened. I was a little stunned and we didn’t even discuss it afterwards. We just ate dinner and I assumed he hadn’t been getting enough sleep.
Then last weekend it happened again and a third time last week. Each time with the expression “Get out.” So, on our fourth go around, I finally said, “Hold it! Why are you kicking us out of the car at the door, everywhere we go?!”
With a baffled expression he thought for a minute and then replied “So you won’t have to walk in from the parking lot.”
I stared at him.
At the bottom of this annoying new habit was a loving and kind gesture. I realized that he had been dropping his father off at the door whenever they went anywhere to spare his father and his father’s sore hip the trouble of walking in from the parking lot. Now, back with us, he was just extending this courtesy to me and the kids.
And so, with loving eyes I looked at him and said, “Well, knock it off! We are perfectly capable of walking in from the parking lot. In fact, it might do us some good!”
Now we are back to walking in from the parking lot and I am happy. I am still keeping my ears open for the inevitable whap on the front door some early morning, but I wish every bad habit we pick up through the years could be so easy to correct. God knows, most of mine aren’t!